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CamGuides: Finding and Using Resources

Searching Google

A blank google search on a samsung tabletIt's quite likely that Google will appear somewhere in your personal search strategy for finding resources or literature for your subject or research interest. It goes without saying that as a graduate student your search strategy should probably not start and end with Google, but there are ways in which you can improve the way you search it.

  • If you're after a specific file type, add filetype:pdf or filetype:docx to your search string. This might be particularly useful for bringing up grey literature which often is in PDF form.
  • If searching only a specific domain would help you, add this to your search string too, in the form of: site:edu or site:gov
  • If your search is time specific you can use two full stops to limit your search results e.g. for results between 2005 and 2010, add 2005..2010 to your search string.
  • Use operators: a hyphen will exclude the following word, a tilde (~) will search for synonyms too, and quotation marks will look for a specific phrase.

Some excellent advice on using Google Scholar more effectively is available here.

Searching Twitter

It's also possible that you'll be using Twitter quite regularly, and you might occasionally want to search it. There is an advanced search functionality but there are some other strategies you can use to find better results through its normal search box:

  • If you're looking for tweets from or to a specific user, add from:username or to:username to the start of your search string (or add both).
  • You can use filters to get tweets with certain conditions e.g. filter:verified will only bring up tweets from verified users, and there is also filter:links, filter:media, filter:image. Putting a hyphen before filter will bring up the opposite results (i.e. non-verified users).
  • Using since: and until: will allow you to add a date span to your search (dates should be formatted as YYYY-DD-MM)
  • You can use lang: to get tweets in specific languages

More information about ways to search Twitter is available in this excellent thread.

Image credits

CC0 by PhotoMix via Pixabay